Ohio’s public sector could be more productive and create savings if it better utilizes information technology to drive public-sector productivity, according to one science and technology think tank’s analysis.
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation proposed in its new report “Driving the Next Wave of IT-Enabled State Government Productivity,”a series of state and federal policy initiatives that would encourage IT-enabled productivity in government.
“In the same way that technology has driven productivity growth in the private sector, there is a great opportunity for savings by state governments,” said, in a statement, Robert D. Atkinson, founder and president of ITIF and a co-author of the report. “But to achieve this promise of e-government, leaders will need to clearly articulate the goal of replacing labor with technology. They will need to take on entrenched political opposition and overcome an array of administrative challenges, including an unwillingness to increase IT investments that would generate significant returns.”
Such initiatives could lower the cost of providing public services by as much as $281 million in savings for Ohio over five years. The report also cites Ohio’s self-service Medicaid sign-up program, which launched in 2013, as a prime example of using IT to boost government productivity and savings.
The report argues that no states have made IT-led productivity a top priority. The think tank recommends a series of reforms to do this in every state such as giving state chief information officers more decision-making authority and embracing public-private partnerships.
“Imagine a leaner state government that needs fewer workers and materials to get the same or better results,” Atkinson said. “By fully integrating technology into agency operations, governments can cut the time citizens waste standing in line or filling out forms, reduce the burden on taxpayers, and make everyday services more efficient and effective. This not only cuts costs, but also makes everyone more productive—which is essential for state economic growth.”